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Published by aravindpunna

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Published by: aravindpunna on Apr 04, 2013
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04/04/2013

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Little Lucy's Wonderful Globe
Chapter 1
MOTHER BUNCH.There was once a wonderful fortnight in little Lucy's life. One evening she went to bed very tired and crossand hot, and in the morning when she looked at her arms and legs they were all covered with red spots,rather pretty to look at, only they were dry and prickly.Nurse was frightened when she looked at them. She turned all the little sisters out of the night nursery,covered Lucy up close, and ordered her not to stir, certainly not to go into her bath. Then there was awhispering and a running about, and Lucy was half alarmed, but more pleased at being so important, for she did not feel at all ill, and quite enjoyed the tea and toast that Nurse brought up to her. Just as she wasbeginning to think it rather tiresome to lie there with nothing to do, except to watch the flies buzzing about,there was a step on the stairs and up came the doctor. He was an old friend, very good-natured, and hemade fun with Lucy about having turned into a spotted leopard, just like the cowry shell on Mrs. Bunker'smantel-piece. Indeed, he said he thought she was such a curiosity that Mrs. Bunker would come for her and set her up in the museum, and then he went away. Suppose, oh, suppose she did!Mrs. Bunker, or Mother Bunch, as Lucy and her brothers and sisters called her, was housekeeper to their Uncle Joseph. He was really their great uncle, and they thought him any age you can imagine. Theywould not have been much surprised to hear that he sailed with Christopher Columbus, though he was astrong, hale, active man, much less easily tired than their own papa. He had been a ship's surgeon in hisyounger days, and had sailed all over the world, and collected all sorts of curious things, besides whichhe was a very wise and learned man, and had made some great discovery. It was not America. Lucyknew that her elderly brother understood what it was, but it was not worth troubling her head about, onlysomehow it made ships go safer, and so he had had a pension given him as a reward. He had comehome and bought a house about a mile out of town, and built up a high room from which to look at thestars with his telescope, and to try his experiments in, and a long one besides for his museum; yet, after all, he was not much there, for whenever there was anything wonderful to be seen, he always went off tolook at it, and, whenever there was a meeting of learned men--scientific men was the right word--theyalways wanted him to help them make speeches and show wonders. He was away now. He had goneaway to wear a red cross on his arm, and help to take care of the wounded in the sad war between theFrench and the Germans.But he had left Mother Bunch behind him. Nobody knew exactly what was Mrs. Bunker's nation; indeedshe could hardly be said to have any, for she had been born at sea, and had been a sailor's wife; butwhether she was mostly English, Dutch or Spanish, nobody knew and nobody cared. Her husband hadbeen lost at sea, and Uncle Joseph had taken her to look after his house, and always said she was theonly woman who had sense and discretion enough ever to go into his laboratory or dust his museum.She was very kind and good natured, and there was nothing that the children liked better than a walk toUncle Joseph's, and, after a play in the garden, tea with her. And such quantities of sugar there were inher room! such curious cakes made in the fashion of different countries! such funny preserves from allparts of the world! And still more delightful, such cupboards and drawers full of wonderful things, andsuch stories about them! The younger ones liked Mrs. Bunker's room better than Uncle Joseph'smuseum, where there were some big stuffed beasts with glaring eyes that frightened them; and they hadto walk round with hands behind, that they might not touch anything, or else their uncle's voice was sureto call out gruffly, "Paws off!"Mrs. Bunker was not a bit like the smart house-keepers at other houses. To be sure, on Sundays shecame out in a black silk gown with a little flounce at the bottom, a scarlet crape shawl with a blue dragonon it--his wings over her back, and a claw over each shoulder, so that whoever sat behind her in churchwas terribly distracted by trying to see the rest of him--and a very big yellow Tuscan bonnet, trimmed withsailor's blue ribbon.
 
 But during the week and about the house she wore a green gown, with a brown holland apron and bibover it, quite straight all the way down, for she had no particular waist, and her hair, which was of a funnykind of flaxen grey, she bundled up and tied round, without any cap or anything else on her head. One of the little boys had once called her Mother Bunch, because of her stories; and the name fitted her so wellthat the whole family, and even Uncle Joseph, took it up.Lucy was very fond of her; but when about an hour after the doctor's visit she was waked by a rustlingand a lumbering on the stairs, and presently the door opened, and the second best big bonnet--the go-to-market bonnet with the turned ribbons--came into the room with Mother Bunch's face under it, and thegood-natured voice told her she was to be carried to Uncle Joseph's and have oranges and tamarinds,she did begin to feel like the spotted cowry-shell to think about being set on the chimney-piece, to cry,and say she wanted Mamma.The Nurse and Mother Bunch began to comfort her, and explain that the doctor thought she had thescarlatina; not at all badly; but that if any of the others caught it, nobody could guess how bad they wouldbe; especially Mamma, who had just been ill; and so she was to be rolled up in her blankets, and put intoa carriage, and taken to her uncle's; and there she would stay till she was not only well, but could safelycome home without carrying infection about with her.Lucy was a good little girl, and knew that she must bear it; so, though she could not help crying a littlewhen she found she must not kiss any one, nay not even see them, and that nobody might go with her but Lonicera, her own china doll, she made up her mind bravely; and she was a good deal cheered whenClare, the biggest and best of all the dolls, was sent into her, with all her clothes, by Maude, her eldestsister, to be her companion,--it was such an honor and so very kind of Maude that it quite warmed the sadlittle heart.So Lucy had her little scarlet flannel dressing gown on, and her shoes and stockings, and a wonderful oldknitted hood with a tippet to it, and then she was rolled round and round in all her bed- clothes, and Mrs.Bunker took her up like a very big baby, not letting any one else touch her. How Mrs. Bunker got safedown all the stairs no one can tell, but she did, and into the carriage, and there poor Lucy looked backand saw at the windows Mamma's face, and Papa's, and Maude's and all the rest, all nodding and smilingto her, but Maude was crying all the time, and perhaps Mamma was too.The journey seemed very long; and Lucy was really tired when she was put down at last in a big bed,nicely warmed for her, and with a bright fire in the room. As soon as she had had some beef-tea, shewent off soundly to sleep and only woke to drink tea, give the dolls their supper, and put them to sleep.The next evening she was sitting up by the fire, and the fourth day she was running about the house as if nothing had ever been the matter with her, but she was not to go home for a fortnight; and being wet,cold, dull weather, it was not always easy to amuse herself. She had her dolls, to be sure, and the littledog Don, to play with, and sometimes Mr. Bunker would let her make funny things with the dough, or stone the raisins, or even help make a pudding; but still there was a good deal of time on her hands. Shehad only two books with her, and the rash had made her eyes weak, so that she did not much like readingthem. The notes that every one wrote from home were quite enough for her. What she liked best--that is,when Mrs. Bunker could not attend to her--was to wander about the museum, explaining the things to thedolls: "That is a crocodile, Lonicera; it eats people up, and has a little bird to pick its teeth. Look, Clare,that bony thing is a skeleton--the skeleton of a lizard. Paws off, my dear; mustn't touch. That's amber, justlike barley sugar, only not so nice; people make necklaces of it. There's a poor little dead fly inside. Thoseare the dear delightful humming-birds; look at their crests, just like Mamma's jewels. See the shells; aren'tthey beauties? People get pearls out of those great flat ones, and dive all down to the bottom of the seaafter them; mustn't touch, my dear, only look; paws off."One would think that Lonicera's curved fingers, all in one piece, and Clare's blue leather hands had beenvery moveable and mischievous, judging by the number of times this warning came; but of course it wasLucy herself who wanted it most, for her own little plump, pinky hands did almost tingle to handle and turn

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